Friday, July 29, 2016


FOTO FRIDAY this week comes after a frustrating week of not being able to figure out why I couldn't sign back in to one of the accounts that accesses me to using this blog. Time to rejoice with a fun pic from one of the summer weddings I attended in June.

 You know those wedding photographers that are supposed to blend into their environs and get the job done? Well sometimes there's something that just can't go unnoticed...

See what I mean?

Actually a very nice personal touch none of us would have seen until he finally sat down to shoot some photos from his seat. Being a sock aficionado my attention fell to his feet. I love this unexpected wedding shot!

How 'bout you? Have any favorite socks/accessories to share? Go ahead "sock it to me."

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Sunday I wasn't successful in convincing my houseguest to stay an additional hour to accompany Natureman and myself for a middle eastern lunch at Greek Fest. Obviously she was anxious to get on the road and back home before the rest of the weekenders.

Last year the chefs at St. Elias Greek Orthodox Church had an issue of the spit taking way too long to cook the lamb so this year small lamb roasts were cooked on the grill and voila lunch was ready to be served starting at noon.  We ordered the lamb k bob lunch which also included pita, rice, middle eastern salad and tzatziki, the cucumber yogurt sauce.  

While we ate we enjoyed the music and dancing from our table in the food tent. All the chairs were filled so we squished in on the corner of a table. Sharing our end of the table were a Yooper ( Upper Peninsula) couple in their late 70's who have made the Coulee their home for the last 42 years. They have been spending the winters in Florida for the last 20 some odd years but return to garden here in Wisconsin. Gee I had never heard that before. Then the wife quipped "Oh yeah I guess we should say, we do have grandchildren here." Seniors say the darndest things...

Monday, July 25, 2016


Girlfriend Sally finally made it back to our neck of the woods this past weekend from the other side of the state. Unfortunately the weather wasn't at its best behavior. Extreme humidity and heat mixed in with a rainy day wasn't the most pleasant but we made the best of it. 

Our neighborhood critters did their best to make themselves seen-frogs hopping across the road, brave chipmunks scurrying around stealing the bird seed. Birds frequenting the feeders included hummingbirds, cardinals, woodpeckers, grosbeaks, baltimore orioles. Wrens & robins were nesting in sight. 
Deer frequented our campfire site and Sally got to see a family of sandhill cranes in the pasture.

We ate well. The chickens provided eggs for breakfast accompanied by Natureman's homemade bread. We enjoyed my favorite summer Oriental Cucumber Chicken salad with our first cucumbers,  garden greens, garlic chives and B.R.'s egg.

We went saling in nearby Coon Valley whose Trout Fest was wetter than usual and frequented their upcyling shops, stopping at a few brave souls' garage sales still open during the rain. We even hit Chaseburg's Hide Away Bar/Restaurant for dessert, drink and music Saturday evening.

The restaurant's cat had his own game going on with a bunny. 

Besides visiting, the rain gave us indoor activities like the game of Pente, watching some episodes of Grace and Frankie. Sally (an art teacher) also was a big help one afternoon with the arduous task of sorting scrapbooking papers.  She saw the upheaval state my art room and work spaces and may feel sorry enough for me to return... I sure hope so. Hey, at least I didn't make her help me weed... Next time. Wink, wink.

Friday, July 22, 2016


FOTO FRIDAY:PAIRING is an important aspect of the sandhill crane population.  This pair has returned to the End of the Rainbow Valley for more than a couple of years now.  Well they're  back and still love hanging around Coon Creek and I'm sure it won't be long before we see little ones.

Where one goes the other goes... 

But that's not to say like most couples they always see eye to eye. 

Who/What's your favorite pair? 

The past week's FOTO FRIDAY had some nice additions:

Thursday, July 21, 2016


From the looks of the windows this morning, it appears as if something is going on in this household. Don't let your imaginations go too wild as it's not our hot air from political discussions- Nope, something else is going on. We actually have an even rarer situation.  Natureman turned on the air. AC- that's right AIR CONDITIONING. The fogged up windows are just condensation from the difference of the temperature on both sides of the window panes from the cooler inside and the hotter outside. A definite throw back (TBT- Throw Back Thursday) to my past of growing up in the South with hot and humid summers.

Today our 90 degree Wisconsin day will have a heat index in the 100 somethings. Who cares once it's that hot? Here is the temp at almost 80 at 5:30 a.m. no less...

It's not common place for us here. Yeah, we are going to whine.
I've gotten spoiled not having the Southern summers I grew up both without central AC/with it. I bet your sweet bippy the weather is the only thing folks will be talking about today here in the Midwest.  

Inside projects are scheduled for the next couple of days as the weathermen are projecting the same heat index for a couple of days. 

first batch of Dilly beans
Maybe we'll make more dilly beans like Natureman worked on yesterday. Nope, that will just add more humidity from their hot water bath... Perhaps some overdue housework? Then again, a tall glass of iced tea lounging on the couch may be the only energy I'll have... Besides the AC, ceiling fans will be the only other things working overtime.

If you hear yelling coming from the End of the Rainbow Valley, it will be because Natureman touched the thermostat making it warmer/opened the windows to let in fresh air. The man doesn't get humidity and all you have to do is look at my hair and the size of the 'fro to know... Keep cool.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Thanks to the generosity of friend Marcia who couldn't use her tickets due to a cousins reunion this past Sunday, Natureman and I were able to enjoy the last performance of the summer's 10th annual MBF, Minnesota Beethoven Festival, in Winona's beautiful middle school auditorium.  

During the season there were both returning and new artists contributing to the 10th MBF's success. Among these were the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Nobuyuki Tsuji, Shanghai Quartet, Joshua Bell, The King's Singers, Dale Warland and Festival Chorale, Richard Goode, Michala Petri and Lars Hannibal and Minnesota Orchestra.
Ned Kirk, artistic and managing director welcoming us to the last performance of the MBF
Our seats were terrific, although I don't think there's a bad seat in the place. What a treat to hear the Minnesota Orchestra not only play Beethoven's Overture to Fidelio, Op. 72 (c) but also Concerto C major Op. 56 Triple Concerto with talented special guests, the spirited violinist Nicola Benedetti, the absorbed cellist Leonard Elschebroich along with the artistic director Andrew Litton as conductor and pianist.

I must admit we, unfortunately, had to leave at intermission and missed the Brahm's part of the program and it wasn't due to the young lad on my right (perhaps 5+ years old?) who was a wonderful listener and music aficionado. Considering the majority of the audience was old enough to be his grandparents, kudos to his Mom for exposing him to the arts!  My problem was a recent wasp sting which had left my forearm swollen, accompanied by a searing pain. I had miscalculated the antihistamine's strength and timing and it had worn off.  So, we opted to head home early to the End of the Rainbow Valley

Thanks so much for a wonderful summer outing and beautiful music Marcia!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


You may remember we lost all but 2 of our layer chickens in the spring. The caught culprits included two raccoons and a possum who I might add were 'relocated.' Our new replacements, a flock of 4 day old chicks, arrived a little over a month ago and were kept in the garage under a lamp being fed special vitamins and feed until they grew their feathers and were large enough to go join B.R.,the Bard Rock and Henrietta, the Rhode Island Red in the coop. 

It hasn't been quite a week that the chicks joined the 2 adult hens in the coop. Don't they look happy?

Morning Coffee Clutch
Yesterday early before the heat of the day and harvesting the garlic, Natureman went to do feed the animals and discovered all the chicks dead in the coop. It wasn't just one or two chicks taken out but the terrible sight of a mass massacre. So sad. It's not just the monies invested but I had spent the last month bonding with the chicks. In one night, poof all killed. The older 2 remaining hens must be mortified watching it all happen. We didn't hear a thing.

Natureman determined to replace the chicks, wasted no time checking on Craigslist to find some older chicks. The coop as of mid-afternoon is now refilled with 7 older chicks in addition to the 2 older gals and the live trap has been reset outside the coop. Personally, I would have waited until we caught the assassin(s)... 

Anyhow, please keep your fingers crossed for us that the night and future nights will pass without incident. Enough disaster in our little world here in the End of the Rainbow Valley... The world seems to be getting crazier and crazier no matter where you live.

Monday, July 18, 2016


Today marks the 1000th entry in the End of the Rainbow Valley blog so it deserves a special post. Unfortunately it is a Monday, not the greatest day for readership so I just might end up posting this twice as it's that important. Perhaps you will agree and share...

You see this past Friday Natureman and I joined a couple hundred community members marching in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. 

Our city's protest march occurred in the late afternoon beginning in a midtown La Crosse park marching a mile to a downtown park where the city's farmer's market was taking place.Participants brought/ shared signs to carry along the route.

People of different ages, races, religions, genders, socioeconomic groups made the walk. 

and her new world citizen

An organizer, a new Mom

Shaundel Spivey, who works with La Crosse Public School's Diversity was the impetus behind the march although he wasn't sure if the white community would show in order to voice their support regarding the injustice and inequality the black community here and everywhere are facing. He and four others discussed and planned the endeavor and within a week's time obtained permits and used Face Book to get the word out. 

And the community did show, marched, chanted... and even sang with local folksinger John Smith who recently returned from celebrating political activist and legend folk singer Arlo Guthrie's life work. Smith led the crowd in singing  Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." 

A march and a song are not going to solve the problem but they are steps in the right direction, bringing about recognition and showing solidarity with the Black Lives movement.

Below are the recently released Black Lives Matter Manifesto which includes 10 tenants to:

1. End "broken windows" policing, which aggressively polices minor crimes in an attempt to stop larger ones.

2. Use community oversight for misconduct rather than having the police department decide what consequences officers should face.

3. Make standards for reporting police use of deadly force

4. Independently investigate and prosecute police misconduct.

5. Have the racial makeup of police departments reflect the communities they serve.

6. Require officers to wear body cameras.

7. Provide more training for police officers.

8. End for-profit policing practices.

9. End the police use of military equipment.

10. Implement police union contracts that hold officers accountable for misconduct.

We must be part of the solution as we are responsible for

For an excellent read check out:Why I'm a racist...

Friday, July 15, 2016


FOTO FRIDAY is of a special present from the newlyweds. They hadn't even been home a week from their honeymoon and they gave me a very special gift. For those that haven't heard the news they are now parents and I have a 'grandpuppy.'

A Wheaten Terrier named Teddy ( after a FB survey I might add) doesn't have to work hard to live up to his namesake as a Teddy Bear. Just look at this face. 

As a grandparent I can tell he will be brilliant. He's already in training to be a ferocious security guard.

Any photos you'd like to share of your grand puppies?

Judi's on it to add her granddog Oslo when he was younger and as she adds still as cute today.

Abraham Wolfgang 
Jennifer's son Ethan and his GF Mackie recently gave her a grand bunny. Abraham obviously knows how to relax. His middle name is Wolfgang because he enjoys chilling to  Mozart 


Thursday, July 14, 2016


When buddy Cheryl pulled up roots, bought a new RV and made the road her home, she gave her buddies a very generous gift. You see she introduced her friends to each other and my life certainly has been enriched by knowing these women. 

Not everybody could make it Wednesday for annual get together lunch and no, we didn't go Indian buffet instead we went to Dublin Square AND we were missing the gal who introduced us. Alas we managed to use the time as best we could catching up with each other.
There were 3: Yours truly, Judi and Marti
Colleen, Judy and the other Karen were also missing around the table and I was just hoping Cheryl would make a surprise visit. But alas her medical appointment in town is not until the end of the month. I knew she's already North in a campground near Hamm Lake yet I was surprised to not be surprised...

Anyhow the biggest news was Marti's since after 2 years on the road ( I can't believe it's been a whole 2 years) has picked her new forever home. Drumroll please...   And it's -

definitely not Wisconsin as she left us her Explore Wisconsin books, tabbed with her favorites. Wait, you didn't think I was going to spill the beans, did you?  That's for Marti to share. 

Since Judi had to go to election poll training our chit chat did have to come to an end sooner rather than later but we know we can pick up wherever we left off as there will be many more adventures to share. 

AND just to make sure you know sharing friends isn't a one way street, I also shared some of my art buds with Cheryl last summer  as we met at Wouterina Cement Sculpture Gardens in Minnesota just out of Red Wing.  
Clara, Nancy, me, Lynne & Cheryl at the  Gardens

Proof that TBT (Throw Back Thursdays) can be fun.
Here's the link if you want to read about that field trip:WOUTERINA SCULPTURES

Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Joan, Sister Antona, Margarita, Yours truly
It wasn't even a week ago that my co-teacher Joan and I along with Sister Antona,  Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, awarded participation certificates to our students for their dedication to learning English. 

This week we, the teachers, also had the honor of attending the Church Women United 's 2016 Human Rights Celebration held at the Southside Community Center in La Crosse. Why? 
You'll have to continue reading.

The day's program started with a welcome from the group's President, Joan, who wears this hat in addition to working with me volunteer teaching English as a Second Language to 4 Latinas. Then the 40 some Church women present were given an agenda by the program chair and were led in song "Shall We Gather at the Table" as a blessing before we went through the potluck dinner line. There were typical Church casserole dishes and salads I remember from my younger days of attending potlucks with my childhood friends. A church potluck couldn't be complete without Green Marshmallow Fluff and Hamburger Casserole, could it? I'd almost consider converting for these great church potlucks. Almost. 
Sra. Antona Schedlo receives JHuman Rights Award

After dinner it was time for the group's Volunteer of the Year and the reason I was there. Sister Antona of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration was honored for her tireless efforts with Centro Latino since its inception in 2014. A very humble Sister Antona reluctantly accepted the recognition.  Sister joked that she only concurred after others insisted it would get the word out about the work of the Center. Although human rights have always been the Franciscan Sisters life work it's a lovely honor the Church Women United bestowed upon our Sister Antona.

Father Patrick Agustine from  Christ Episcopal
Our guest speaker was Father Patrick Agustine, from Christ Episcopal Church who has been an active voice for Human Rights, specifically in Sudan and Pakistan. Father Agustine shared his human rights work and the importance of us all answering the important question of our nation of "Who is our neighbor?" He states G-d gave him a voice to speak out.

He has personally seen and heard about the millions of atrocities in Sudan and Pakistan where human rights continue to be disregarded and has testified about these violations in D.C. Persecution of Christians in Muslim countries with rapes, murders, burnings of crops and villages. He reminded us that it is important to follow St Francis's hope to  'Plant a seed of love.' 

We must give voice to injustices. Thanks to the Church Women United for their mission of remembering "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirits of brotherhood. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms... without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status." ( excerpt from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights UN 1948.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


This past weekend we spent a couple of days close to where my kids went to summer camp near Eagle River in northern Wisconsin.

We imitated their camp activities as we had the possibilities for water activities like kayaking, canoeing, sailing and fishing. (Nobody went swimming though.)

Natureman's double ringer.
Our land activities included ping pong, horseshoes, reading and of course, visiting. We had brought our bikes but there just wasn't enough time for a bike ride as inclement weather interfered.

And just like camp we all had chores helping with meal times. We didn't even need a chore chart as we all chipped in getting food prepped & cooked, table set, dishes cleared and cleaned each meal. Like camp we had healthy appetites as we polished off a lot of food. It must have been all that fresh air. 
Roasted veggies, scalloped potatoes and steak just like camp, right?
Yep, it was just like going to sleep over camp. It was a lovely time to spend with friends and even celebrate a birthday. And when it was time to leave just like camp we all exchanged big hugs with hopes to be able to see each other at camp again next year. See, one's never too old for summer camp even in one's golden years... 

Monday, July 11, 2016


MOON TUNES used to be NOON TUNES which was actually pretty sweet for a lunch hour but alas the time changed now starting at 5:30 p.m. but it  remains on Thursdays, making it still one of my favorite summer days.

This past Thursday we listened to String Ties, a local bluegrass band while enjoying our picnic dinner.  Their members also play in many other groups. Love of music does that to a musician. ( I've mentioned this group before and it won't be the last time...)

                           String Ties (l to r)  Tom Pfaff, Larry Dalton,Dan Sebranek and Wayne Beezley

Anyhow, all ages enjoy this group's music. One of the band member's wife teaches clogging and 2 of her clogging group joined her for 3 numbers on stage.  Also adding to the music, our infamous town's 90+ year old hula hooper who comes equipped with more hula hoops for volunteers,  had some younger backup hoola hoopers. It was fun to seeing the different generations sharing a love.

At one point during the concert about 20 kids between the ages of 5 to 10 were showing off their dancing moves.

Folks bring their babies and even the furry ones.

Moon Tunes is definitely a family affair as all ages attend the free concerts.  A donation bucket is passed and dollar by dollar goes towards building a new bandshell. Friend Heidi added that Moon Tunes is one of her Valley View Rotary's projects and they are committed to raising enough monies to pay for the new bandshell's ($110k +)sound system. Kudos to all our community's support!

It was a warm day and most of us sought out the shade but once the cloud coverage moved in, it was much more bearable and we felt blessed to not get rained out. It was a wonderful evening filled with great music, great community and a great sky.

If you're in La Crosse, this coming Thursday TUGG, a reggae group is playing. Stop by, nothing beats music by the Mississippi...